By Siara Greco
My piece is about my journey traveling across the world to build my confidence in the science world. I was taught to make history in breaking the stereotypes of women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).
I am on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Germany with fourteen other girls from across the country. This is my first time traveling internationally and aboard a plane without a family member beside me. The seatbelt light begins to flash and I feel the plane drop along with the feeling of my heart sinking into my stomach. The three of us in our row instantly grab each others’ hands as we head into the turbulence and simultaneously acknowledge the sisterhood we are already fostering at the start of this two-week journey. We are headed to Estonia for an opportunity to connect with girls from across Eastern Europe and to expand our interest in STEAM. I notice the same anxious feeling continues to linger as I exit the plane, but this time it is the doubt of not being smart enough to take part in the rigorous classes taught by Google, Intel, and NASA, as well as the overwhelming worry ruminating in my mind that I might not truly belong here. I felt as if I would not be smart enough to complete the assignments, and that my level of knowledge in science would not match the other girls. Typically, I have always thought of men when I heard science. These stereotypes affected my confidence in believing that I could be a part of the STEAM world.
As this life-changing journey truly begins, I am introduced to new cultures and mediums of learning. My first assignment is announced: coding a doorbell system for the deaf community with the Google team. My heart once again drops to my stomach as I panic, while trying to instantly come up with an idea that would be deemed “good enough.” However, I need to realize I am enough and so are my ideas. Through this larger assignment I am able to build my confidence and recognize that I have the knowledge to be successful in new tasks.
The feeling of doubt drifts away and a new feeling of joy takes over as I complete my first assignment with pride. I stand in front of my fellow campers and the Google staff and present my first-ever app. As I watch the classroom smile and clap, I know it is time for me to realize that I truly belong here. I am pushed to tap into my full potential within the science world. I never realized how far my passion in science could take me. I begin to code apps, drones, and robots, all of which I had never considered possible. I am able to explore science in a new hands-on way that I have never been exposed to in the traditional classroom setting. My growing confidence overpowers the doubt within me. One project has allowed me to recognize my worth in the science world and continues to build my confidence in pursuing my passion in engineering.
Siara Greco is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Staten Island, NY.